It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. This I command you: love one another.
- John 15:16-17
Today we celebrate the feast of Saint Matthias. From the beginning of the Acts of the Apostles, we know he was chosen in prayer to replace Judas as one of the Apostles. Any other information about his life and death is vague and contradictory. We can assume that Matthias knew Jesus and was one of His disciples, though Jesus did not include him in the select group of Apostles until after His Ascension.
Regardless of those details, we are all like Saint Matthias ... we have all been chosen by God to be adopted children of God, to live our lives in ways which bear fruit — not just for today, but fruit reflecting God's love of all of us and our love for one another. We may not be called to be apostles with a capital 'A,' but we have all been chose to be apostles in the way God wants us.
In the Spiritual Exercises, Saint Ignatius wants each person to experience the fact that he or she is chosen by God, personally, specifically. Ignatius wants us all to know this in the core of our being, not just intellectually, but spiritually and emotionally. Only this way are we able to live our lives in ways which will produce more than short-term accomplishments, but fruit which will truly build the Kingdom of God and help others. It is in knowing and accepting we are chosen to be apostles of Christ that we will be able to try to live God's commandment to love one another — not just in the easy times with the easy people, but to try to live and love each person in our world — those easy to love, and those we find difficult to love.
Because we are chosen, we are all called to live our lives beyond the superficial. We are all called to work to treat each other in each moment of each day with respect, concern and caring that comes from the knowledge that God loves me, and that person, the other. We are called and chosen to recognize the hatred and lack of respect for other we often find in ourselves and others. We are called to the knowledge that hatred and disrespect needs to be confronted, not with more hatred or disrespect, but with the love we all seek as our goal. We are all called to be better apostles each day.
In this time between our celebration of Christ's Ascension and the ever-presence of God in Pentecost, let us each pray that we grow in our awareness that we are, in fact, chosen people. We are each called to live our lives as God's apostles in all parts of our lives ... with each person and in each place we are given.
Let us be confident in God's love and choice of us, so we might strive to live more and more in the peace and joy God continues to give each of us.
May we enter our summers with a new purpose ... a higher purpose that lead to a common and greater good for us all.
Have a blessed summer ... you are chosen by God.
A. M. D. G.
D. Highberger, S.J.
P. Stark, S.J.